I spoke out when it was uncomfortable to do so

  1. I posted a graphic with stastics of how many white men were shot by police compared to black men in 2014 on my Facebook.
    I don't need to say there were more black men
  2. A cousin posted a graphic in response that showed the number of white men killed by police was much higher than black men.
  3. So I researched it. I went to the source on the graphic I posted.
  4. Turns out they were using the statistic for black men ages 15-19.
  5. But I also did some more research and discovered that when you take in account the population differences between white and black people; black people are still throughout adulthood 3.5 times more likely to get shot.
  6. So I calmly explained that yes what I had posted was misleading but it was the right numbers for the ages 15-19. I also explained how in order to accurately understand the numbers of people who died we had to look at it in percentages.
  7. I got a very racist response. One even more so than I was expecting. It wasn't hidden racism. It was right there for everyone to read.
  8. And I paused.
  9. What do I do?
  10. Normally I ignore argumentative comments on my political posts but all I could think about how twenty years from now I wanted to be able to say I did everything I could and that was in my power to change hearts and minds.
    I did not want to be a complicit bystander.
  11. But this was tricky. It was a cousin. Answering in the wrong way could have long term consequences in family dynamics. Even though he lives miles away and we're not close.
  12. But does that mean he gets a free pass for cruel, racist and downright wrong remarks?
  13. No. It doesn't.
  14. So I formed my answer. It was three paragraphs long and I did not directly come out and call him a racist (my one concession in order to avoid a literal family feud) I did say that he was looking at this through the lense of racism.
    So yeah I kinda did call him racist just not in so many words.
  15. I read and reread what I wrote. It was harsh. But I was angry and even if I wasn't there isn't a way to tone this down. There isn't a way to make it feel nice and fuzzy.
    I was direct. I asked him questions. I asked him to examine his beliefs.
  16. And then I posted it.
  17. And I had spoken out.
  18. Sure I post things on FB or wrote a li.st but do I engage when it counts? Well, I'm trying to.
    I've been working really hard to educate my parents. And it's working.
  19. This was my first confrontation so to say about someone over the #blacklivesmatter movement.
  20. And I'm glad I found the courage to fight back.
  21. I didn't write this list for a "good job" or a pat on the head. I'm not asking for that.
  22. I wrote it for me. I wrote it so I would remember in a few weeks when the momentum fades to continue to confront comments like I did tonight.
  23. I will not be a silent bystander.